Monday, April 20, 2009

Midwest horse fair, and gentling mustangs

I went to the Midwest Horse Fair yesterday and my dad did end up coming along. We stayed late and his shoulder did become a little stiff, but he did pretty well. We both had fun and were really glad we went. We ended up arriving around 3pm, had time to wander the barns (had to go see all the mustangs in their stalls), spend a LOT of money on a little fair food, and then get our seats for the evening events in the Coliseum.

I wish I had taken more pictures while we were wandering the barns. We saw some really beautiful horses walking by, and practicing in the roads and arenas. There was a gorgeous grey Andalusian doing the trotting in place thing (wish I could remember what it was called right now), the HUGE Priefert percherons, but the only horse I got a picture of was a tiny miniature being led among the crowds. It just looked so odd! So tiny!

There were lots of neat exhibits with lots of horse stuff, but I didn't plan to spend any money there, so we didn't visit them. We did like the moose and horse sculptures though!

I wasn't able to get any pictures of the evening events in the was too dark and the flash wasn't strong enough. We watched the reined cowhorse competition and the mustang makeover finals. Really we were just there for the mustangs, but because of how they split up the events (did half the cowhorses, then half the mustangs, then the other half of cow horses, then the other half of the mustangs, then the cowhorse awards, then the mustang awards), we had to stay for the whole thing! The cow horse thing was fun too, but wow, what a late night it ended up being.

The horse that won (can't remember the name, but the hip number was 20 ridden by Chase Dodd), was awesome. She was calm, cool and did everything her rider asked without a single moment of resistance. He prepared her well! Some of the others were a little hyped up from all the stuff going on, but they all did a commendable job. It definitely makes me excited about bringing home the new mustangs and getting started working with them! I also got another video to watch for ideas on gentling them...this one is Lesley Neuman's First Touch. So my gentling repertoire now consists of ideas from Kitty Lauman, Lesley Neuman, and Clinton Anderson (plus countless other snippets of videos, books, and TV shows with others working horses).

It's interesting to see that Kitty Lauman, Lesley Neuman, and Clinton Anderson all have very different methods for working with the horses, but each of their methods works. I'd say that Clinton's is the most aggressive and purposeful. I like Kitty Lauman's for the thoroughness with which she prepares the horse to be touched all over, but I was amazed at how quickly Lesley Neuman can get a horse relaxed and allowing himself to be touched, with very minimal work. I've definitely got some great ideas. The main concept that they all share of course, is when the horse responds how you want, you need to release all pressure. I really liked Lesley Neuman's video...she obviously really cares for and understands the horses. She was so confident, but in a very relaxed way. She seemed to be the most at ease around the wild ones out of anyone I've watched work with them. And I think the wild ones respond to that relaxed, calm confident nature. I have to remember to channel that.


Jessie said...

Sorry I missed you, Kara! I am shy myself, so I understand :-)

I can't believe you stayed for the awards!! I only stayed until the last mustang went through. I was pretty sure Chase would win, he had the most 10's for scores out of them all. It was 12:30 by the time I got home, did you and your dad get a hotel or drive home? Either way I'm sure it was late! The traffic was probably bad getting out of there with everyone else.

Linda said...

I'm not familiar with Lesley Neuman, but you've peaked my interest. I'll check her out.

nikki said...

I wish that I could have gone to the mustang makover to see all of the horses but my job wouldn't let me take a 3 day weekend and it was an 8 hour drive there so we decided not to go :(

Glad to hear your dad got to go with you and is healing up nice.

I've heard of Lesley Neuman but can't remember where I saw her name or what I heard about her... I'll have to google it. Do you have RFDTV? Clinton Anderson has been doing "Working with Mustangs" videos (8 total I believe) and those have been insightful to watch. I think by part 4 (and day 6) they climb into the saddle and start riding.